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Monday, December 6, 2021

The ‘Child’s Play’ Timeline – What “Chucky” Taught Us About Charles Lee Ray’s Early Years and Final Days

“I’m gonna get you and I’m gonna get Eddie… no matter what!”

When the “Chucky” series was first announced, creator Don Mancini had promised that the show would “explore Chucky’s character with a depth that is uniquely afforded by the television series format,” and he sure wasn’t kidding. In addition to putting Chucky on a whole new quest for dominance, “Chucky” also dove deep into the origin story of Charles Lee Ray.

Of course, the original Child’s Play began with Brad Dourif‘s Charles Lee Ray, the serial killer known as “The Lakeshore Strangler,” being gunned down in a toy shop, performing a voodoo ritual in the final moments of his life to transfer his evil soul into a Good Guys doll. From there, the movies rarely took steps backwards, instead always advancing the story forward.

But how did Charles Lee Ray become a serial killer? When did he become interested in voodoo? And what was his relationship with Tiffany like in their early years? These are questions the franchise never quite around to answering until the debut season of SYFY and USA’s “Chucky” series, which just wrapped up last week – with a second season set to arrive in 2022!

Young Charles Lee Ray and Eddie Caputo in “Chucky”

We learned a lot of new information about Charles throughout “Chucky,” with the character’s origin story being explored in Episode 3, “I Like to Be Hugged.” Flashbacks throughout the episode gave us some insight into Charles’s early days as a psychotic child, witnessing the brutal and bloody murder of his father at the hands of a serial killer one fateful night.

In response to witnessing the horrific act, a young Charles Lee Ray picked up a knife and murdered his own mother in the same fashion, inspired by the killer to become a killer himself. It was a twisted first kill for the Lakeshore Strangler, to say the very least, revealing an entirely new wrinkle in the story of a character we’ve spent the past 30 years hanging out with.

The following episode, titled “Just Let Go,” touched upon Charles Lee Ray’s teenage years via more flashbacks, focusing on his time spent at a boys home in the wake of his parents being murdered. Charles essentially takes a young friend under his wing in these flashback snippets, not unlike the way the aforementioned serial killer introduced Charles himself to the world of serial murder. That young friend? Revealed in a line of dialogue that capped off the flashback sequence, teenage Charles Lee Ray’s friend was none other than Eddie Caputo!

Neil Giuntoli played Eddie Caputo in Child’s Play, Charles Lee Ray’s partner-in-crime. Long story short, Eddie eventually bails on Charles when the going gets tough, and Charles later – in the form of Chucky, the killer doll – gets his revenge on his former friend. We now know how Charles and Eddie initially linked up, information we once had to surmise on our own.

Charles and Tiffany meet in the 1980s, “Chucky”

“Chucky” also took us back to the 1980s for the very first encounter between Charles Lee Ray and Tiffany Valentine, with an adult Charles Lee Ray played in those scenes by Brad Dourif’s own daughter, Fiona Dourif (who of course also plays Nica Pierce in the franchise). In a series of flashbacks to the 1980s through the episode “Little Little Lies,” we see Charles Lee Ray pick up two women at a bar, ultimately stabbing one of them to death with a little help from the other. The “other” woman, in this particular case, being a young Tiffany (Blaise Crocker).

Subsequent episodes continued the human adventures of Charles and Tiffany in the 1980s, giving us a front-row seat to a relationship full of bickering and murder. It’s when Chucky begins killing women entirely on his own that the relationship falls apart completely, with the Season 1 finale of “Chucky” revealing one of the entire show’s biggest bombs to date.

Brad Dourif in ‘Curse of Chucky’ (2013)

The 2013 film Curse of Chucky revealed that Charles Lee Ray stabbed Nica Pierce’s mother in the stomach shortly before he was chased by police into the toy store that would become the site of his death, with that movie suggesting that it was Nica’s mother who turned Charles into the police. But “Chucky” reveals it wasn’t Nica’s mother. It was Tiffany Valentine.

Fed up with Chucky, Tiffany called the police and tipped them off that Charles Lee Ray was “The Lakeshore Strangler,” a call she placed while Charles was on the way to pay a visit to Nica’s mother. After killing Nica’s father, Charles Lee Ray had kidnapped the pregnant Sarah, stabbing her in the stomach when the police arrived that day… before quickly fleeing the scene.

That fateful stab, of course, is what caused an unborn Nica to lose the use of her legs.

Charles Lee Ray reads a voodoo book in “Chucky”

We now have a much clearer picture of the timeline of events for Charles Lee Ray’s life and final days, with the simple blow-by-blow breakdown going something like this…

  • 1965 – Charles Lee Ray kills his mother
  • 1972 – A teenage Charles kills a man and meets Eddie Caputo
  • 1986 – Charles and Tiffany meet and fall in love
  • 1987 – Charles begins exploring the world of voodoo
  • 1988 – Charles and Tiffany have a fight… Charles storms out
  • 1988 (same night) – Tiffany lets the police know that Charles is the Lakeshore Strangler… and where to find him
  • 1988 (same night) – Charles pays a visit to Sarah and stabs her in the stomach, crippling Nica
  • 1988 (same night) – The police arrive and Charles flees to the Playland toy store
  • 1988 (same night) – Eddie Caputo, a childhood friend with Charles at the time, ditches him
  • 1988 (same night) – Charles is gunned down by Detective Mike Norris
  • 1988 (same night) – Charles transfers his soul into a Good Guys doll
  • 1988 (a couple days later) – Charles, as Chucky, begins killing… and gets his revenge on Eddie Caputo

The rest is horror history, with the Chucky doll (possessed by Charles Lee Ray) claiming countless more victims on the road to an entire army of evil Good Guys dolls being created in the season finale of the new TV series. Where does “Chucky” go from here? And what new information will we learn about the franchise’s history in the upcoming second season?

We’ll find out when “Chucky” returns in 2022!

Charles Lee Ray runs into Playland Toys, ‘Child’s Play’ (1988)


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